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Three Poems
T. Zachary Cotler


They Are a Light Directed through the Shrouds

Extinct women and men are falling
            through the wires.

They have names like Tanakh
            angels’ aeon names.

They sucked the rhymestone
            genitals of muses.

Little muses, going deaf, split what
            they saw along the ninth and tenth
            axes; they saw with fly-eye complexes
            of human eyes.

The women and men,
            someone listen to me,
            they said.

And dichotomous trees
            of human limbs and daedal
            names like angels’ split and split
            by music of the axes.

Little sisters held the heads
            of brothers going down.

They didn’t know their names,
            not always,
            they said.

They are my sisters and brothers.

Extinct amen, the falling split
            the wood of their aesthetic
            names into arrays of wyes
            and exes.







Purgatory for Eighth and Ninth Echoes

Why, here, us?
            A name sits on a box.

We said something,

one says. No one
            remembers us,
one

says. Ineffables, that’s what
            the box contains.

I know that, says a name.

Tenths are too blurry,
            they get thrown away.

A lot of names came from the U.S.A.
            and Europe. We were influential,

ink sprayed out our nose and mouth. Word-colored

constellations on white paper stones.
Pick those up,
            they go in the box.







Wise at the House on the Cliffs

With the look of a frescoed Cain,
old man in the shade of exterior
walls—he’s a young man,
captious, ready with a joke; or

his footsteps down a spiral
staircase, out, blown bottle
sea-surface and the cliffs glassy—
pirouetting without haste,

bootsteps like clinks of cups
up the heart’s spiral, to chambers
with undusted albums and warships
in bottles, to beds of old conception; or

his daughters, their angles
and Greek names he gave them,
and please, talk and stay with him
—they leave, they rain

apart, each flying grain
keeps a man and his
habits, intelligence, faces
in photographs, framed in

the silicate facets; or
the quick tide coming to
wrecks at the boots of the cliffs; or
slow tide and young sailors through

the noon, outbound to be brotherly
slain in the blink of an ox-eye sun;
or an old man with his thinking done
by the otherwise frames of the sea.